President Beck, liberal learning to be celebrated this inauguration weekend

Emily Passey

On May 7, Lawrence will inaugurate its 15th president, Jill Beck. The events surrounding the installation ceremony are numerous, but the focus of weekend is not Beck’s inauguration. The theme of the weekend, “A Celebration of the Arts and Liberal Learning,” truly says it all. This is an idea of which President Beck is a great supporter, having founded ArtsBridge, an outreach program designed to offer hands-on arts experience for elementary through high school students.
The kick-off is at 5:30 on May 5th. The Cellular Automata – those elaborate sculptures adorning Science Hall atrium – will be dedicated by the artist, Rob Smart, ’96. Attendees at this invitation-only event will include faculty, trustees, visiting alums, and distinguished guests from other liberal arts universities across the country.
The big event is the open house, Friday, May 6, from 10-4 p.m., taking place all over campus. The day includes presentations from nearly all departments and various events showcasing many fine Lawrence attributes. Here are a few highlights:
Beginning in the morning, visitors will find an information desk with schedules and maps in the Main Hall lobby. At four intervals throughout the day, the first at 10:30, campus tours will depart from the south steps of Main Hall.
There are also several open houses interspersed throughout the day. Each of these will also have a few staff members on hand to direct people and answer questions. The Career Center and the Center for Teaching and Learning will be open at various times during the day. Visitors can check out students’ volunteer work in the Union all day, or experience the technology in Main Hall at the Humanities Computer Lab until 2. There will be a special presentation at 11:15 followed by a drop-in open discussion – until about 1:15 – all about Freshman Studies, given by the head of the program, Professor Dirck Vorenkamp.
Three panel presentations are scheduled in succession, beginning at 12:45 p.m. and continuing until 4:30. Each presentation will be an hour long, with small breaks in between, and take place in Youngchild 121. The first will cover the ArtsBridge program, with scholars, sponsoring teachers, and faculty mentors discussing the diversity and growth of the new program. The second will consist of Lawrence alumni who have gone on to have eclectic lives and careers and who attribute much of that to their Lawrence experience. Finally, faculty, students, and representatives will discuss collaborative projects between Lawrence and the Fox Cities.
The students and faculty of every department will be showing off work, leading discussions, or answering questions, and many will be there all day. The social sciences department is focusing on displaying student projects, conducting people through the anthropology department, and the psychoacoustics and child development labs, and telling visitors about the Freeman Trip to Asia. The labs are open from 11 a.m. until 12:15, and all other events are open house.
The math and computer science departments will also be displaying student work and the department facilities, and Professor Eugenie Hunsicker will be around from 10-12 to explain the Knot Theory. They will also host a Mathematics Tea at 2:30, allowing visitors to talk with faculty and students and learn more about the department.
As for the humanities, there are mostly timed events such as lectures and readings throughout the day. Professor Daniel Taylor will be giving a lecture on “Classics at Lawrence: From Sampson to Beck” at 2 p.m. in Main Hall 105. The Spanish department will be giving dance demonstrations, presented by the members of VIVA, at 11-12, and will also offer readings of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and presentations to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the writing of Don Quixote. The English department will also be doing poetry readings, but of student work, at 2 p.m. in Science Hall 202. Student poets include Aubree Bojko, Michael Morse, and Joshua Musikantow, three seniors from Professor Barrett’s “Advanced Poetry Writing” class. In addition, many of the other humanities departments will be giving presentations, hosting tea, and showing off student work.
In the physical sciences, the laboratories will be open for visitors to peruse starting mostly at 1 p.m., with the Saliva Lab, Microbiology Lab, and Geology Labs open at 10. Also, student posters will be on display and the students who participated in the geology trip to Scotland will be describing that experience at 11 a.m. in Youngchild 236.
The music, theatre arts and art departments will make appearances as well. In Wriston, two exhibits, entitled “Guys and Dolls” and “The Modern City,” will be open to the public all day. In the conservatory, the students from both the “Advanced Acting” class and the spring play “First Lady” will be acting out a few scenes, at 11:30 and 12:30. In Harper at 11:30, 1:30 and 2:30, two student trios will perform “The Klezmer’s Wedding” by Srul Irving Glick and “Come Down Heavy” by Evan Chambers. Besides these events, there are many more, all chosen by the faculty to truly exemplify Lawrence’s position as an amazingly diverse liberal arts university with much to offer.
Friday ends with a faculty concert in Memorial Chapel, followed by various inaugural dinners around campus for the exhausted guests and, of course, President Beck.
The inauguration will take place on Saturday morning, beginning with a procession of student leaders, trustees, faculty, and other distinguished guests. The Installation will begin at 10:30 and is a limited-space, ticketed event. The University is hoping that many people will attend and has arranged for a closed-circuit broadcast into Stansbury, and a live webcast for far-away alums and students home for break.